Moms Columns & Blogs

Study: Kids in daycare don't play enough

Do you know how much play time your child gets while at daycare? It may not be enough.

According to a study in the journal Pediatrics as reported by Reuters, a parental push to focus on academics even at the preschool level is leaving kids with little time to play.

There also is the matter of safety. Some parents, the article says, ask that their kids be excused from vigorous activity to avoid the risk of playground injury.

So how does that work? While little Johnny is running and climbing and sliding, is little Jimmy forced to just sit and watch?

The Washington Post figured this means kids, on average, are spending just 2 to 3 percent of their time at daycare playing vigorously.

Finances also play a part here, with some daycare providers unable to afford equipment that is up to safety codes. But come on, my toddler is supremely happy to just “go outside, go run!“

So are we breeding the next generation of couch potatoes?

From the Reuters article:

“Young children learn by moving,” said Russell Pate, a professor at the University of South Carolina who was not involved in this study. “I am concerned that preschools and child care centers are placing a very heavy focus on the development of pre-academic skills.”

This research “adds in a significant way to a growing body of information that indicates that the characteristics of preschools influence the physical activity levels of young children,” Pate told Reuters Health.

The study was based on 49 child care centers in Ohio, where at least part of the year weather is probably also a deterrent to getting outside.

It seems the biggest thing they have to worry about when it comes to play time is us.

What do you think: Do your children get enough active play time? Do you feel it is well-balanced with academic time?

Distributed by MCT Information Services.